This is my personal take away from the book – Screen Time by Becca Caddy.
If there’s one practical tip for me to apply right away, it’d be – Negative Emotions Regulation. Okay, it’s pretty common that whenever we’re feeling down, we tend to reach for our digital device to help us ‘deal’ with the feelings by distracting us from the problem we’re facing. It’s like a shortcut that we thought could make us feel better but most of the time no, not helping.
This is where we should regulate the emotions by taking a closer look at the feeling-down situation and recognize which of these four negative emotions we’re actually feeling – boredom / sadness / stress / loneliness? Turning into social media when we’re feeling these is actually giving birth to even worse negative emotions. Conclusion is :
Bored > Social Media > Tired
Sad > Social Media > Miserable
Stressed > Social Media > Depressed
Lonely > Social Media > Pathetic
Overall? It’s making us feel even more exhausted and finally, burnt-out! No wonder anxiety and depression cases are striking up high and social media could be one of the reasons.
So the tips from the book is to be prepared for these emotional cues by creating our own emotional toolkit. Hence, before we even reach out to the phone and get trapped into the scrolling spasm – do what instead. What what? It’s for us to find out for ourselves! Well, the author came out with a list of great suggestions so I select / think of these for myself :
Bored > Read
Sad > Write
Stressed > Laugh
Lonely > Engage
How does it sound? Boring?? Hahaha. Look, everyone can have their own alternatives according to one’s preferences. Examples like;
- Turn on your favourite song and sing aloud
- Get outside and walk or jog
- Cook some dishes for you and others
- Clean up the room or rearrange a corner / shelf
- Do some art and craft
- Go cafe hopping
- Ring up a friend or family and have some direct conversation
- Etc, etc…
As for me, why do I choose what I chose?
Because boredom bespeaks voidness and voidness has to be filled. There are also many contents and sharing on social media for us to read but this void cannot be filled with just anything. It has to be something that’s fulfilling to the soul and makes us feel differently better afterwards.
Reading good stuff is like inhaling clean air into our mind and body and this is safer to do with books like motivational and self-help books, or the Quran and tafseer will definitely be a good channel.
Conversely, a right motive to open social media could easily be interrupted by non-beneficial contents and ads that will end up to never-ending scrolling and bore us even more.
To me personally, the best time to write is actually when feeling sad, disappointed, frustrated. Really! It’s not about venting out the problems faced at the moment but it’s so natural that when the heart is crumpled with so much unspeakable feelings, writing is a way to let loose and comfort myself better.
I always have in queue; books to-read and pending blogpost-to-write but you see, even hobbies could be defeated over this attachment to phone and swamped me straight to procrastination.
I don’t know about you but this Ms. Sadness Binti Annoying somehow looks like a shameless frequent uninvited guest that keeps showing up every other day at the window of my life! Hurm now I know how to ignore her absolutely.
For this particular emotion, the idea is to exhale the toxics inside us through writings. But yeah… Another similar way of exhaling is also by speaking to The Most Listening ~ Allah As-Sami’. Without delay, without hesitation, cup our hands up instantaneously and make prayers to Him to ease things out. InsyaAllah, everything is gonna be okay.
I think stress is ubiquitous. It’s an everyday thing that can occur anywhere at any time whether we’re outside or even at the comfort of our home due to…anything! As for me, fighting kids would automatically make my blood boil but actually even something as simple as a stubbornly tight jar lid could cause me stress in the kitchen and spoil my cooking mood just like that.
Hence, stress is inevitable. The tension level might be different at times but stress itself is common to almost everyone, unless you’re a clown. So I think the remedy for every time we’re simply boomed with stress is to laugh! Because laughter is the best medicine and I’ve done this all the time and it works to chase the bad mood away all at once! Haha..Isn’t that simple?
With that, for this particular feeling I will allow myself to grab the phone to open up Twitter, only! Because that’s where I can always find funny tweets to entertain myself. Lol. But of course it shouldn’t be like an immediate action once the stress strikes! Haha.. The point is to never let ourselves accumulate little negativities until later become a huge toxic in our lives.
Fact – everybody could experience loneliness no matter whether one is single, married, a forever lone-ranger or even one who came from a big family or from a happening circle of friends, when being alone or in a crowd of people. Weird, huh.
But when I look closely at all of these 4 emotions, loneliness is actually the most fragile feeling one could experience that if it is channeled to social media as an instant support, it actually could become like a time bomb. You know what I mean. Instagram is so known as a place for many to share their filtered side of life rather than the actuals. We did that too? At least.
Those uploads, when seen by a lonely person, could trigger some sort of discontentment that will make him/her even lonelier. The same photo, when looked at other happy times won’t perhaps have the same effect.
The thing is, that kind of situation could invoke even more negative feelings like envy, hate, feeling like a loser and such, giving weight to the existing unhappiness that originally was just a little limbo.
Recognize the fragility of our state of self and just admit that yeah, I’m lonely. The remedy taken from the book is to engage with people. Rather than scrolling through social media endlessly in the name of stalking, text your message directly or just ring up a selected person and have a real conversation. Start with saying hello and just go with the flow of chit chatting, about anything. Text, call, videocall.. Just make a little effort, it sure helps to make us feel accompanied.
Your phone, your rules. And ruling your emotion is a form selfcare. Hence, take care!